People can be arsehats

Hey everybody, CstM here. I hope you’re all doing well. So I’ve had a bit of a panic. I tried to log into my account, like I normally do, and wordpress was like “No, we don’t know you”. So I made a new account. But my new account wasn’t connected to the blog and has some really random password. Well turns out, as far as I can tell, you can’t log into wordpress on the ipad now unless, you have the app. So I think I now have two accounts and I have no clue what the password for the new account is. So yeah, I’ll just pretend like that never happened.

Happy New Year! Did you guys get to celebrate? We had a really quiet night in. I was hit with a cold right up to new year’s, so I slept through most of the 30th and was feeling a bit rough on new year’s eve. I mostly lived on cola and m&m’s that day. We never really do anything too fancy on new year’s so it wasn’t a massive loss.

Did you guys do new year’s resolutions? I kind of did. I’m trying to do 3 months of no cross stitch buying. I swear, I must have been a squirrel in a former life or something. I will tuck away things, hiding it for a rainy day and then slowly hoard way too much, because I’ll be standing in the rain thinking “Nah, I’ll save it for the hurricane!” Quite frankly I’m running out of storage space, so it’s either get bigger storage or use what I’ve already got.

My dad has a big birthday coming up later in the year, so that also ties in. I’ve started saving up for the trip abroad, in case they actually let us leave the country, and not spending money on cross stitch for 3 months will make it a lot easier to save up. And if all goes to hell I guess I can send him a nice gift.

I’ve even made savings plans and everything. I feel like a responsible adult. It’s kind of a weird feeling. I also found this savings tracker. It has three symbols, like pumpkins are 30£, acorns are 20£ and leaves are 10£. Then every time you put money into the savings you get to colour in one of the symbols. Which does make it weirdly fun to save. It’s lockdown, I’m easily amused.

So I for once made notes about the book of the months (Last time we read Carrie) and I somehow managed to lose my notepad. Great! I thought I’d have to come on here and be like “Yeah, so my dog ate my homework!” But thankfully I have Leggy, who weirdly knows where my things are. If I had a penny for every time my dad told me I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached, I’d not need to save and I’d probably need a second house for all the cross stitch shopping.

I really enjoyed reading Carrie. Although it did remind me of the fact that teenage girls suck. So much so that, that is indeed my first note about the book. Now this is very much a book of what the hell is wrong with people and why are they all such arsehats? (The people in the book, not you reading this.) Carrie is bullied in school for years, with virtually no repercussions for the bullies. Sure they took prom away from that one girl, but surely that was just too little too late. Where are the teachers in all this? I saw a Stephen King quote recently and it does pretty much sum up the book. “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” Yes, Carrie has telekinetic powers, but the real evil is in the people around her. The bullies throwing tampons at her, the teachers who doesn’t protect her, the abusive mother and the neighbours who know about the abuse but does nothing. It’s like the Edmund Burke quote “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Do I condone her murdering spree in the end? No. Do I feel sorry for most of the people who died? Also no. The book started with blood and it ended with blood.

Now this month we are staying in the theme of blood and reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I have not read this before, and I’m quite excited. As someone who grew up reading Anne Rice’s sexy but evil vampires it’ll be fun to read about the old school vampires. Will be interesting to see how far vampires have changed. We’re now in the era of sparkling Twilight vampires and sexy True Blood vampires.

As we missed out on the book of the month last month I figured we’d make it a double feature. So if you feel up to it we’ll also be reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

I found this gem on YouTube whilst looking for the song Ride a white swan by T-rex. It is absolutely hilarious.

Storm part 2

Hi everyone, CstM here back for a quick update. I hope you’re all doing well and keeping warm.
This is just not our week. Although that can probably be said by a bit chunk of the area. Leggy still hasn’t had his phone signal return. The website is promising it’ll be fixing in the next 16 hours. But then it was 16 hours away from being fixed 24 hours ago. So that’s great.

Tuesday night we had a leak in the entrance hall way. The storm had completely filled the gutters with pine needles. We got a small hill of gunk out of the thing. At least the floor is concrete out there so there wasn’t that much damage.

Last night we decided to have a relaxing night. Watch the film we didn’t watch on birthday night. Well we were almost at the end of the film, when the power went off, again! So we’ve spent another night sleeping in the living room. Luckily it was only gone overnight.

We’re still waiting on the engineers to come and fix the telephone line. I’m not sure if it’s the snow and hails that keeps them away or all the fallen trees.

The phone line is somewhere in there


Hi everyone, CstM here for a quickie. I hope you’re all doing great.

We had the big storm roll over Friday. It cost us several trees, one of them my favourite holly tree and our power. Now had the trees just had the decency to fall alone, that would have been great, but sadly one of them took our phone line with it. So we have a snapped phone line and no internet.
We were without power, and water, from Friday afternoon until Monday. We’re still waiting on the people to come replace the phone line.
At least I got lucky and my mobile signal came back, so we have a small window to the outside world.
Most of all we were lucky, in that the house came out unscathed and we’re both fine.

All this to say that if Leggy hasn’t replied to an email, he hasn’t ignored you guys, he’s just not receiving anything at the moment.
Hopefully everything will be back to normal in a day or two.

The month of spookiness and soup

Hey everybody, CstM here. I hope you’re all doing amazing.
This has been the month of trying out new recipes, especially soup. Leggy has been my culinary guinea pig. A job I don’t think he minds too much.

Clockwise Potato soup, Shrimp and broccoli with homemade prawn toast, tomato soup, French onion soup and broccoli and cheddar soup

It started out with loaded potato soup, with homemade croutons. That was very delicious, although I still think it’s a slightly over glorified mash with extra steps.
Then we tried out a recipe for Broccoli and cheddar soup. Now I wasn’t really expecting too much from this soup, but dang that thing was so good. Definitely my favourite one so far. Closely followed by the tomato soup. It has roasted tomatoes and garlic in it, plus chipotle paste that gives it a nice kick. The grilled cheese sandwich even had bacon jam, which warms my Danish heart.
The French onion soup wasn’t my absolute favourite. It wasn’t terrible, just not the most amazing either.
Lastly we tried the stir fried broccoli and prawns. That was very delicious. I’d highly recommend that. Was very quick and easy to make.

I got a couple of cross stitches finished for Halloween, so that was pretty neat. I’m working on one last Halloween piece before switching to my pile of Christmas projects.

Now new things are happening. I actually finished the book of the month. I know, it’s a bit of a shock. Who saw that coming?
There will be spoilers of The Pearl coming up, so if you want to keep yourself free of those, please skip this section.
I actually really enjoyed this book. I admit I had a somewhat hard time getting into it at first. It started out very action packed with baby being stung by a scorpion, but it has moments of being quite over descriptive of the nature. Like no one cares about all the different species of fish in the water. Well at least I didn’t.
Then there was Kino and his ability to hear the song of family, the song of the ocean and so on. I’m sure it’s some metaphor or something but it just left me wondering if the guy needed to talk to a doctor or something.
Now the copy I had was 124 pages, now what I didn’t realise was that 40 of them was an extract from one of Steinbeck’s other novels. So I had a massive emotional rollercoaster reading the book. First the joy of finding the pearl, then the outrage at the pearl merchants trying to cheat Kino out of his rightful pearl price, followed by the horror of Kino turning into a bit of a twat, hitting his wife when she tries to free them of the pearl. He really should have listened to his wife. Did he learn nothing from Alien? Granted that is a bit after his time, but still. Listen to the woman!
Then as if it wasn’t dramatic enough Steinbeck throws in a bit of manslaughter and an epic run for safety up in the mountains.
Now at this point, my book till had plenty of pages let. Or so I thought. So I was in a false sense of security, thinking there was plenty of pages left. They still had loads of time to get through the mountains, sell the pearl and live happily ever after. Imagine my surprise and deep feeling of betrayal, when we went from Hey, we’re in the mountains, there’s a nice pond with wild life. It’s really pretty, a scene straight out of Bambi. And then, Bam! dead baby! Like WTF! I was not in anyway what so ever prepared for that. What sort of Game of Thrones moves are you pulling here, Mr Steinbeck. I’m still not over it. Who kills a baby?! Jesus!
So yeah, I love the book but I also kind of hate it.

November is my birthday month, so I figured we’d read the Stephen King book that I’ve been thinking about reading for a few month now. Carrie.
I’ve seen the new version of the film, so I haven an idea of what I’m going into this month. I never saw the original film, but I’ve heard it has John Travolta doing weird things, so sounds like I may have dodged a bullet there.
I hope you guys will join me in the reading and I hope you all had a great Halloween.

Curry and evils of the world

Hi everyone, CstM here I hope you’re all doing well. I am doing much better than my last post. Thank you all for your kind comments. I really do appreciate all your advice and well wishes.
I’m so sorry for the late post. Life has been busy around here, with the visit of the Welsh mothership. It was a very lovely visit. We had a dinner party, and of course I had to go all out and make two different currys and homemade onion bhajis. At least Leggy got to have a spicy curry for once, so he was happy. I’m a strictly butter chicken girl, anything else can be too spicy or has coconut in it. Dang weird allergies.
Speaking of allergies, something funny happened. Well I thought it was funny. I was oven roasting butternut squash for the curry. For some reason if I handle butternut squash with bare hands, I get a really bad rash, so I wear rubber gloves as protection. The Welsh mothership was in the kitchen watching me prepare the butternut squash, wearing my handy rubber gear and didn’t bat an eyelid. Although I guess it’s more dramatic inside my head. I always feel like some Dr. Frankenstein ready to bring my creation to life. Even if it’s just a curry.

Another thing I’m behind on is the books. I’m about half through the Hunger Games book. I’m genuinely enjoying it, I just keep getting distracted by other things. I must admit I didn’t remember the original books being this brutal. Maybe it’s because I’m older and everyone seems so much younger.
It is an interesting book though. We’re following Coriolanus Snow, as he and his classmates mentor the participants of the games. A game they are trying to make more viewer popular. Now this is a guy who, if you’ve read the original books, will become the personification of all the evil in the Capitol. But hearing his traumatic upbringing in the first rebellion, you do end up feeling sympathy for this young boy, who is just trying to survive and excel.
It does make you wonder, when does bad people turn bad.

The book reminds me in some ways of the film The motorcycle diaries. It’s a film about young Che Guevara travelling through latin America and seeing the poverty and destitution first hand, and ultimately leading him on a path of trying to make a change. Now I don’t condone what he did, but watching that film, you do get a bit of understanding of where he came from. He started out wanting to do good. Does that excuse all the evil he brought into the world? No, in no way. It just makes you understand to some degree where he was coming from.

One book that is a very good read on the topic of evil is The Lucifer Effect by Robert Zimbardo. It looks into the psychological explanation for why even good people sometimes turn evil. It goes over his Stanford prison experiment and also talks about how similar things has occurred in real life like the Abu Ghraib prison.
It is well worth a read, if you’re interested in the topic. I’m still annoyed that someone borrowed my hard back copy of the book and never returned it. Although quite ironic to steal a book about evil.

Now for this month book in the Gloom Dog book club, I went for something short. I figured there isn’t much left of October, so to make it plausible to actually finish it, it needed to be an easy read.
So this month we’ll be reading The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Cade over from Cade F.O.N Apollyon was the one who suggested it. He’s been reading along, and helped start the Gloom Dog Bookclub, so go give him a read, if you have the time. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.
I’ve heard very good things about The Pearl, so I’m excited to start reading it. I’ve only read Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, so it’ll be nice to read some more of his works.
I hope you’ll join us on our next reading adventure.

Gloom and books

Hi everyone, CstM here. I hope you’re all doing well.
Sorry for the late post, I have been having a bit of a rough time mentally. Probably the lockdown and everything going on in the world.
So I’m just popping in for a quick spell to tell you the book of the month.

This month I’m hoping to read the new Hunger Games book ”The ballad of songbirds and snakes” by Suzanne Collins. I really liked the Hunger Games trilogy, so I’ve been looking forward to this book.

I’m aiming to come back next month with my thoughts on the Hitler book.

Reading ambitions

Hi everyone, CstM here.
I hope you’re all doing well and haven’t melted away in the heat. We had almost two weeks of really great weather. Of course summer arrived before and after Leggy’s mother had gone back home. That’s how life works I guess. We did have a really lovely time with the Welsh mothership. It was sad to see her go home, but it was also nice to have the house for ourselves again.

Now I almost had to come back here and admit that I once again didn’t actually read the book of the month. I spent way too much time munching ice cream, playing Zelda breath of the wild and dazing in the sun. It was far too hot for cross stitching, so there hasn’t been any progress on that front. But after procrastinating, I finally read the book on the last day of the month. Now I had read it before, years ago, but I’d forgotten how great a book it is.
The characters are well written and I was finding myself getting invested in their development. The characters have their flaws and Carl Mørck, the main character, is battling with PTSD following a job that crippled one of his coworkers and killed another, plus going through a divorce. But it is all really well written. He feels like a real person and you can’t help but root for the cranky sod.
Although hands down my favourite character is his side-kick Assad. Where you know the back story for Carl Mørck, not much has been revealed yet about Assad. He has a wife and daughters, has strange not so legal contacts, can drive a tank and much else isn’t known about him. For me it makes it me much more invested in reading the other books in the series, because I want to know more.
Now this is the first book in so far an 8 book series, so I was thinking of being ambitious in my reading plans and keeping reading one of the Department Q books parallel with the Gloom Dog Book Club book. So there’ll technically be two books a month for the next 7 months. Hopefully you’ll keep following me deeper into the Department Q universe.

Now that brings us to the new book of the month. This month we’ll circle back to political satire/comedy and read “Look who’s back” by Timur Vermes.
I haven’t read this one before and I must admit I don’t know too much about it. It’s about Hitler coming back to life in the present time and how he reacts to life in modern society. It claims to be funny, so we’ll have to see if it can keep that promise.
We’ll also be reading book two in the Department Q series, so Disgrace (UK title) or The Absent One (US title) by Jussi Adler-Olsen. The Danish title is Fasandræberne (The pheasant killers). Side note, am I the only idiot who keeps getting pheasant and peasant mixed up? I’m still surprised NSA or MI5 didn’t show up asking questions, after I accidentally Googled “Can you keep peasants as pets”. Not my greatest moment.

I almost forgot, it is a bit of a special month. Gloom Dog is turning 13 on the 12th, so she’s looking forward to her celebrations. We’re still figuring out what to get her. She got a new bed for Christmas, so we may get her something nice to eat. A cheap cut of steak or some chicken maybe. If the weather holds up she may insist on us taking her to one of the castle parks nearby.

I hope you’ll join me on the reading adventure this month and have an amazing day.

Gloom for the book club

Hi everyone, CstM here. I hope you’re all doing well.
We’re having the Welsh Mothership visiting, so life has been a bit hectic. Especially after almost two years of no sleep over visitors. You do get a bit complacent in your solitude, don’t you?

So last month we were reading The Catcher in the Rye. Honestly, I absolutely hated it. I could just not get on with it and gave up after 4 chapters, which may be a bit unfair towards the book.
Maybe it was just not the right time to read it, or maybe it’s my aversion of first person character books, but yeah I’m happy to see that book gone.
I am a strange one about first person character perspective in books. In school we read this Steen Steensen Blicher story, Late awakening (Sildig opvaagen). It’s told in the first person perspective, about this guy who is in love with a woman, but the plot twist is that for most of the story we only see his version of events, and it turns out he has a very twisted perspective of reality. After that I’ve never trusted a character narrating in first person.
I tried reading Moby Dick, but I read the fist line of “Call me Ishmael” and I was just wondering why I’d spend some 400 pages with a guy who isn’t even upfront about his name. Like can I really trust anything you try to tell me about some whale?

This month I’m going for a Danish book. Now it’s a bit cheeky, since I’ve already read this one before, but it’ll be a nice reread.
We’ll be reading Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Mercy. The first book in the Department Q series. Now I’ve seen it elsewhere as Keeper of lost causes, but there may be a British title and an American title. Just a heads up. The Danish title is Kvinden i buret which means The Woman in the Cage.
Now this is one of my favourite genre of books. I love a good detective novel and tv show.
I hope you’ll have time to join in on the reading.

Long live Snowball

Hi Everyone, CstM here.
I hope you’re all doing well.
So last time in the Gloom Dog Book Club we were reading Animal Farm. Now that was an emotional roller coaster. I didn’t know much about it, besides the famous quote “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”
So I went into it thinking “Oh a book about pigs and farm animals, how bad can it be!”. Holy bejesus, that went dark really fast. The scene were Napoleon went all “Off with their heads” with the chickens. I did not see that coming! Or the part with the puppies, when they kick out snowball. Poor guy!
I really liked Snowball, maybe he just spoke to my Scandinavian mind. So I was getting really angry at Napoleon for how he treated Snowball. Although Squealer was the pig I mostly wanted to punch on the snout. He was just a massive, self serving twat, wasn’t he?
So yeah, I went into the book not really expecting much, but I ended up really enjoying it. I’m pretty happy with having read that.

Now this months book is going to be The Catcher in the Rye. Another book I just know by title but little else. I’m sure it’s been mentioned in crime dramas as a favourite amongst serial killers, but I’m not sure how much truth there is to that. The only thing I could find online, was that it was the book John Lennon’s killer was obsessed with.
So I hope you’ll join in on the reading adventure.

I was talking with David Davis, and I was mentioning how since I grew up in Denmark, I’ve mostly read the Danish and some Scandinavian classics.
Now I have a list of future picks for the Gloom Dog Book club, but I’d mostly gone for English/American literature. I want the book club to be easily accessible to everyone. Books you can just pick up from the library.
But I was wondering, if they’re available in a translated version would you guys be interested in me adding some Scandinavian books into the mix? Please let me know what you think.

We have finally been allowed to go inside people’s houses. It’s a brave new world. We actually get to socialise and not freeze our butts off. We’ve been to see the grandkids, which was really nice. They grow so big, so fast.

We’ve even had a week of pretty decent weather, so Gloom Dog and I have been spending time out in the sun, whilst the guinea pig have been roaming around in his outside enclosure. Even the garden pheasant has been more active, eating the droppings from the bird feeder and screaming the songs of his people. It could also be because I feed him bread scraps.

Reading for the soul

Hi everyone, CstM here.
So can we all agree that lockdown is starting to suck massive balls? I’m here panicking, trying to write a blog post, wondering how to act human, since the only socialisation I’ve had outside family and friends is the occasional visit to the pharmacy.

I’ve taken up bird watching. Or a more fitting description, I’ve started semi stalking the local pheasant and his wife. They come to the garden every day to eat the droppings from the bird feeder. We did have a quite fun sighting of a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Well I was there starring into the soul of this poor bird, wondering what the heck kind of bird he was and really, the bird just wanted a bit of privacy so he could eat.

Although it hasn’t all been bad. I’ve started and finished quite a few cross stitching projects and I’ve started a wall of cross stitch.

Well I was talking with Roob and Cade, over from Library of Libraries, and we were talking about how we’d like to read some more. I know I have a big list of books I’d like to read, but I’ve really fallen behind on my reading these past few years.
In an attempt to start reading more and just enjoy books with friends, we came up with the idea of starting a book club.

So I hereby introduce you all to Gloom Dog Book club.
The idea so far is that we’ll read one book a month. I’ll get on here and introduce the book and if you feel like reading along with us, that would be grand.
I have a whole list of upcoming book ideas, but if you have any suggestions feel free to drop it in the comments below.

The first book we’ll read is Animal Farm by George Orwell.

I hope you’ll consider joining us on our reading adventure.
Happy reading!